Tracey Cole

Tracey Cole

Grow Beautiful Bougainvillea

In summer nothing is as vivid as expansive drifts of vibrant, drought-resistant bougainvillea in eye-popping colours!

Bougainvilleas are a vigorous climber with arching stems armed with unexpectedly sharp thorns, and can reach 5m or more. The colourful blooms are not actually flowers but bracts, and the real flower is the small centre in the centre of the bract. There is a huge choice of varieties and colours, so before you rush out to buy one consider where you want to position it – in a container, to cover a wall, climb over a pergola or as a security hedge. In a small garden choose a dwarf variety that will grow to 1 and a half metres high.
Bougainvilleas love heat and flourish in full sun. When planting dig a large hole, and add a cup of bonemeal to the bottom of the hole. They prefer a free-draining soil, so if your soil is clay infill the hole with plenty of compost. Give the plant a good soak then mulch with wood chips or compost to retain moisture. Once established bougainvilleas grow rapidly, are disease-resistant and drought-tolerant. They will need regular trimming, so make sure you wear thick gloves! However, dwarf varieties tend to have few or no thorns compared to the large climbers. Only apply fertiliser in spring, summer and autumn.
The colour range of bougainvilleas varies from white to purple as well as shades of yellow, gold, orange, red, pink and lavender. The compact varieties grown as container plants look fabulous on a patio and pinching out new growth will keep the plant compact. Large hanging baskets in full sun planted with ‘Tropical Rainbow’ or ‘Temple Fire’ look stunning! Popular climbers are ‘Brilliance’, Dauphine, Golden McLean’, Lilac Queen’, Vera Blakeman’ and ‘Rubyana’.

Bougainvilleas are truly the wow factor in any garden!

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We at village gardens have a knowledge of all of your local edible plants here in South Africa. We can happily plant up your garden with edibles of all varieties from Mediterranean herbs and local indigenous edibles. We are surrounded by such stunning hardy indigenous plants, let’s get back to nature and have our own garden of local goodness.

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